Jessica uses a beautiful word to describe herself- iridescent. Jessica is an active blogger and is volunteering with Safecity in her great potential. To quote her “change starts with me.” Gul is an active blogger with Safecity and our youngest volunteer who is well read, opinionated and strongly vocal about issues of stalking, online harassment, assault and in her spare time, she strengthens her understanding of laws and rights. She also writes poetry and believes that words can change a lot in this world, for our good.
Break your silence, everyone else will follow!
There was a 13-year-old girl in Barampur, Malda, West Bengal. She was a happy teenager until she was molested, and that changed her life forever. She was molested in a place that is meant to be an integral part of a young person’s life, her school. It happened on the school campus, in front of all the students and it was done by a group of three youths in their twenties just because she refused the proposal of one of the guys in that group. Firstly, how did they manage to get into the campus when they had nothing to do with that school? Where was the security? Secondly, why wasn’t there any responsible adult present there to prevent such a disgusting act? Instead the other students had to stop them, but at least they stopped it.
The effect of such an incident on someone so young is unimaginable. To be treated in such a disgusting way, in front of so many people, it’s all way too humiliating and scarring. In August 2013, a 7-year-old girl was molested by her teacher within the school premises, and in April 2014, he was molested by that teacher in the school premises again. This happened at the Maxfort School in Rohini, Delhi.
Parents leave their children at the responsibility of the teachers and the children are taught to respect and trust their teachers. And when someone at such a trusted position does something like this, it brings a feeling of being betrayed within the victim, a child in this case.
A student at the Prabhadevi for the deaf and aphasic was molested by the principal of the school along with another teacher. The principal was aged 48 and the teacher was 37. It was later found out that six other students had gone through the same. They were exploited because of their disability by those people who had to protect them and skill them so that they never get exploited.
A large number of people hold a disheartening misconception that all girls who love to party, and go to nightclubs are nothing less than sluts/whores/or other stereotypes we pin on them, and it is this misconception that gives them the liberty of molesting a girl just because she was out partying at night and get away at the mercy and shadow of a society that perpetuates this.
So girls, do not party…
And this is how we treat are women, my dear fellow Indians. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu1rFIyDZFY
Molestation is not only a threat to just young women, it is faced by men and young boys also, and it is faced by people of all age groups, and largely goes unreported. An 84-year-old woman was molested in Kollam by a 45-year-old man and she succumbed to this brutal act.
A 28-year-old pregnant woman was molested by the chief priest of the Badrinath Temple. In this case also, we have a man who is at such a position that so many people respect him and look up to him as a fatherly figure.
The trauma of being touched and played with like a toy is extremely hard to deal with. Your whole life becomes a complete mess, you become a complete mess, and in such a condition, you have people blaming you because you were treated like an object, you have people taunting you for what happened to you, you have people discriminating against you because you were molested. Instead of support, this is what you get for a crime that you didn’t even commit.
If you didn’t consent, you have the right to resent.
The consequences of molestation are infinite. What is saddening is that these are to be borne by the victim/survivor/or the way we may want to address them in our heart and not the offender or perpetrator. The offender is only punished if he/she is ever reported and is proven guilty in the court of law. Every single story is different, yet the core intention of the crime remains the same. It’s both the thought and action that set into motion a chain of myriad consequences for the victim.
Here are some of them:
Depression –Depression is dangerous. It destroys you mentally and drains you emotionally. You lose your will. If you are depressed for more than two weeks, you should seek medical help and before all of it, as soon as you acknowledge it, talk to your friends or family members.
Anxiety- Uncertainty about situations involving your offender or someone belonging to the same sex as them. You don’t trust anyone. This leads to anxiety and in extreme cases even panic attacks.
Fear: The victim lives in constant fear of being abused again. The slightest hint of oncoming abuse or a feeling of déjà vu could really scare them and keep them intimidated and inhibited in all surroundings and setups. This also destroys their self confidence, a notion the offender rejoices in and uses an opportunity to abuse again if not held accountable for previous crimes.
Social Stigma/Shame: This consequence is more of a shameful spot on us as a wholesome society rather than on the victim. It is extremely sad that someone who has had to go through mental, physical & emotional abuse must also be stigmatized by Society time and again, tirelessly.
Flashbacks or Nightmares: The victim may suffer from regular flashbacks or night terrors due to their experience. This causes them to live in that moment continuously and this makes it harder for them to heal.
Social Withdrawal: The victim may feel fear, shame or constantly discouraged and may not want to venture out and live their lives they intended to or did previously. They withdraw into their own cocoon or safe haven.
Suicide or Suicidal Thoughts: Victims of sexual abuse may end their lives or think about doing so. Find someone who will listen to you & demand justice, you are not responsible for it. Report.
“You save yourself or you remain unsaved.” -Alice Sebold.
The best way to move on is to become a survivor, from a victim. It takes a lot to be a survivor. The amount of courage and confidence that it takes to be a survivor is just too brave. And that too surviving such a devastating and humiliating act of being molested, it is beyond brave. But it’s definitely not easy, especially not in India (as much as I hate saying this, it is the sad truth). But you have to have the courage, because this is your life and you have the right to live it to the fullest and nobody can stop you from doing that. Break your silence and everyone else will follow!